The “Biggest Bucks of 2016” photo-spread on pages 38 and 39 of the February issue of The Maine Sportsman displays deer many of us can only dream about – ten bucks, each a minimum of 250 pounds, with the largest being Stephen Holbrook II’s 281.5-pound monster, taken in Byron, ME on November 11.
This year’s Biggest Bucks edition also highlights and reinforces the success of Maine’s woman hunters. In fact, the second-largest deer taken in 2016 was a 269-pound buck, felled by accomplished huntress Albany McCabe of New Sweden. And Desiree Benner of Friendship graces this month’s cover, holding – in her impeccably-manicured hands – the massive rack of a 210-pound buck she took in Waldoboro on October 29.
On the three pages following the photo-spread are the names of the newest members of the Biggest Bucks Club – more than 450 hunters who bagged deer weighing more than 200 pounds. Congratulations to all!
But the February issue is about more than big bucks. Two special sections on snowmobiling reflect the activities of many Mainers and visitors this month. Cathy Genthner covers off-trail and backcountry riding in Baxter State Park along the Tote Road, and farther north into the Allagash, while JP Falzone contributes a piece celebrating the vital work accomplished by snowmobile clubs – brushing out trails and rebuilding bridges in the fall, and grooming the snow’s surface all winter.
Boaters fortunate enough to be able to work on their vessels under cover are taping, sanding and varnishing this month, and the boat shows in Portland, Augusta and Bangor start soon. In recognition, this issue provides a boating special section covering pontoon boats, which have undergone a transformation from “party boats” to versatile, all-purpose craft.
And in a humorous look at what can go wrong while ice-fishing, we offer a special section titled “Top 5 Lessons Learned from ‘Ice Fishing Fails’ Videos.”
Our regular columnists are also at the top of their game this month. King Montgomery (“Sportsman’s Journal”) visited Aroostook County last fall, and recounts his trip in a well-crafted photo-journalism article. And our saltwater writer, Barry Gibson, offers a light-hearted but informative piece titled “Things I’ve Learned as a Saltwater Guide” (examples: “Don’t approach a dock any faster than you want to hit it,” and “If the clients are drinking beer at 6:30 a.m., there’s a good chance an unpleasant incident will occur at sea later in the day.”).
Two types of cats are featured in February – big ones, as in cougars that Val Marquez claims he’s seen in Southern Maine; and small ones – feral cats that kill birds and small game but which are generally protected these days, as opposed to years ago, when their numbers could be legally reduced by hunters and trappers.
So enjoy the issue cover-to-cove. Write to us (Will@MaineSportsman.com) to tell us what’s on your mind (many of you are doing just that each month – the feedback is welcomed and appreciated).
We are on newsstands in many small stores, so look for our magazine as you get your morning coffee, and let us know what additional stores should carry our publication. Continue to support our advertisers. And if you didn’t get that subscription you were hoping to for Christmas, call the office at 207 622-4242 and leave a message, or go to www.MaineSportsman.com and click on the “Subscribe” button on the top right of the screen. We’ll be pleased to provide you with a full year (or two) of Maine hunting and fishing news, information and entertainment.